It is gratifying that the Psychedelic Science 2023, an annual conference starting next week in Denver, CO, has gained a level of legitimacy and importance to feature a full week of programming, speakers and events. The event, which runs from June 17 to June 25, is co-sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), the country’s leading psychedelic research and advocacy group. The conference opens with community programming and workshops, while the main conference commences June 21. That part of Psychedelic Science 2023 features more than 300 speakers, seven distinct tracks of presentations, and related social, entertainment and community events packaged neatly alongside.
The offerings are comprehensive and perhaps potentially overwhelming in number, scope and complexity. In an effort to relieve any anxiety associated with attending and making choices, I want to share some of the offerings that really stand out for me as a practicing psychotherapist.
Note that in the list below there are overlaps in times, necessitating a choice based on your preferences. All a testament to the conference’s skillful programming.
Wednesday, June 21
9 am – Opening Address from Rick Doblin, Founder and President of MAPS, the most central figure in the re-birth movement to study, legalize and implement therapeutic psychedelics.
10:15 am – How do psychedelics work? A chance to hear one of the most influential researchers and thinkers in this space, Robin Carhart-Harris.
10:15 am – Microdosing with James Fadiman, known as the “Father of Microdosing.”
12:15 pm – Assessing the evidence for microdosing – Facts, data and fictions about this practice.
2:30 pm – Educating the Next Generation of Psychedelic Practitioners – Training of practitioners to assist in interventions.
3 pm – The Impact of Psychedelic Drugs on Brain Function and Cognition – Latest research from John Hopkins University School of Medicine.
3 pm – Rick Doblin and Amanda Fielding – Two founders of the psychedelic movement.
3 pm – How To Change Your Mind – Screening of the eponymous Netflix documentary series MDMA episode with author Michael Pollan speaking afterwards.
3:45 pm – Psilocybin Mushrooms and their Tryptamines – Paul Stamets, the renowned mycologist and industry pioneer
4:15 pm – The Biological Anti-Depressant Effect of Ayahuasca.
5:15 pm – How Psychedelic Medicine Can Unlock Elite Performance – NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers speaks.
5:45 pm – Heart Bending, Mind Mending – The Effect of Psychedelics on Flexible Cognition.
Thursday, June 22
9:15 am – Psychedelics: Spirituality, Mindfulness and Mortality – An opportunity to hear Roland Griffiths, another pioneer in the field.
10:15 am – Psychedelics as the Great Disrupters – Dr. Ben Sessa discussing treatment of trauma-based disorders.
10:15 am – Psilocybin in Alcohol Use Disorder – Latest research.
10:15 am – BioGnosis – A member of the McKenna clan is always worth listening to.
12 pm – The next cycle of venture funding for psychedelic companies – Two industry-leading venture capitalists.
12:15 pm – Reflections on a Lifetime with Psychedelics – A talk from Andrew Weil, a psychedelic OG.
12:30 pm – Wellness and Psychedelics – Data from one of the largest surveys in the area.
2:30 pm – Psilocybin assisted Therapy for Major Depressive Disorder – Clinical results and cases.
2:45 pm – Tempering Psychedelics – A conversation with Michael Pollan and Bob Jesse.
3 pm – Chemistry for Consciousness – Update from the influential Alexander Shulgin Research Institute.
3:45 – Ketamine Treatment – Current issues and controversies.
3:45 – Efficacy of Psilocybin in OCD – Data from a double blind, placebo controlled study.
4 pm – Reimbursement for Psychedelic Therapy – Where insurers stand.
5:15 pm – Borderline Personality Disorder and Psychedelic Therapy – Treatments and outcomes.
6 pm – Family Matters in Psychedelic Therapy – Interventions for supporting family members.
7 pm – Screening of Psychedelic Revolution: The Secret History of the LSD Trade.
Friday, June 23
10:15 am – 5MeO-DMT as a mental health tool.
10:15 am – MMDA & Developmental Trauma – Renowned author and clinician Bessel Van Der Kolk.
10:45 am – Wisdom for Therapists offering psychedelic-assisted therapy.
10:45 am – Observational research to therapeutic applications of 5-MeO-DMT.
11 am – BioGnosis – If you weren’t able to see Dennis McKenna on Thursday.
12 pm – Telemedicine models for Psychedelic therapy.
12 pm – Towards next generation Ketamine treatment.
12:45 pm – Psychedelic Research in Memory.
2:30 pm – Psychedelic therapy for depression: A DMY approach.
2:30 pm – Couples therapy and psychedelics.
3 pm – A Conversation with Carl Hart – An informative and controversial figure in neuropsychopharmacology.
3 pm – The Way of the Psychonaut – The Grof family as pioneers.
5:30 pm – Becoming a Psychedelic Therapist.
Here’s to learning, meeting and moving forward. Bring some comfortable shoes and we’ll see you in Denver!